If you and I want the coming year to be marked by a very real newness within, we would do well to review some of the ancient practices which good people have found to be helpful over the centuries. I pastored in Green Bay,Wisconsin during part of the period that Vince Lombardi was coaching the Packers to football immortality. Mr. Lombardi was often asked about trick plays and the secrets of coaching; he always answered that it was simply a matter of blocking and tackling. There were no new, clever ideas that really mattered unless one mastered the fundamentals of the game.
I've concluded that the same thing is true of the spiritual life. Books, retreats, and religious conferences are constantly promising us some new formula for spiritual vitality. Some of them may stimulate us for a time. But in the end, we'll need to come back to "blocking and tackling" -- such basic matters as Bible reading, prayer, group worship and sharing, and good devotional reading.
-- J. Ellsworth Kalas in Reading the Signs